Pakistan News

Authority launched for digital certification

ISLAMABAD: IT and Telecommuni­cation Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque on Wednesday inaugurated the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for National Root Certification Authority (NRCA).

The minister said the establishment of NRCA is a step towards the achievement of “accelerated digitisation”.

He highlighted that the Electronic Certification Accreditation Council (ECAC) has established PKI for NRCA for the government, public and private sector entities.

NRCA will be the first to establish trust and security in electronic transactions/communications in the country. It will be globally recognised through WebTrust audit and highly secured PKI setup for accreditation of Certification Service Providers (CSPs).

The minister said that Pakistan had witnessed a dynamic revolution in the sphere of e-commerce and e-governance. “The use of digital signatures is unpredictable as it was unregulated due to the non-existence of NRCA, monopolistic existence of certification authority in the private sector and lack of enforceability and implementation in the public sector by the appropriate authorities,” he observed.

However, there is enormous use of digital signatures in public and private sectors in digital contract signing, web hosting, emails, e-voting of intermediaries, e-filing and e-office services etc.

“PKI and overall information security is a multi-billion-dollar global industry. Pakistan has the potential in the form of its youth to participate in this market and prove its mettle, “ he added.

Currently, all the certificates used to secure these services within Pakistan are imported certificates either from Foreign Certification Service Providers like VeriSign, DigiCert, Entrust or Go Daddy, etc or through their partners/resellers in Pakistan.

This was also a burden on foreign reserves of the country besides security issues for around 116,000 websites and 1,280 email servers registered with Pakistan PIN.

The minister also stressed that the growth and adoption of digital technologies in all sectors of the economy are inevitable for the development of the country.

As Pakistan embarks on its journey towards becoming a truly digital economy, the establishment of a regulatory framework for ensuring data protection, establishing trust, and maintaining the security of all digital transactions,

documents and systems are thus essential, Mr Haque added.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2022

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